Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke missed the mark in a recent Rolling Stone interview. The 30-year-old British actress was talking about sexism in the movie industry, when she made an argument comparing it to racism.
A self described feminist, Clarke started off by describing the very real experiences of woman getting less lines than men in movies and women having to be on set for longer periods of time just for hair and makeup. Clarke then hit us with the, “I feel so naive for saying it, but it’s like dealing with racism.”
“You’re aware of it, and you’re aware of it, but one day, you go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s everywhere!’ Like you suddenly wake up to it and you go, ‘Wait a fucking second, are you . . . are you treating me different because I’ve got a pair of tits? Is that actually happening?’ It took me a really long time to see that I do get treated differently. But I look around, and that’s my daily life.”
Clarke probably should have stopped right at, “I feel so naive for saying it.” From the start, her comparison of experiencing sexism as a White women to racism erases the experiences of Black people, especially Black women. Years of racist terror on whole communities, White institutional power, and generational wealth already privileges Clarke as a White women. And lets not forget about how Black womanhood is even more marginalized within women causes — the wage gap between White women and Black women is just one example. Racism is much more than being “treated differently” (and so is sexism for that matter). A conversation can be had about systems of domination but racism is still very specific from sexism. Hopefully, Clarke will get the memo if she’s repping for any feminism that means something.